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Speak up for rates relief

Speak up for rates relief
August 18, 2006

A concerted effort by the North Shore City Council’s finance team has so far assisted more than 2000 of its city’s ratepayers to receive rebates on their rates bill.

But Mayor George Wood is urging even more residents who think they may be eligible to check with the council.

The Department of Internal Affairs estimates that around 9000 North Shore City residents may qualify for a rebate of up to $500 per year on their rates bill.

The income threshold to qualify for a rebate varies depending on individual situations – information on whether residents qualify can be obtained from the council’s website - www.northshorecity.govt.nz – or 24 hour call centre on 486 8600.

North Shore City Council has been promoting the rates rebate scheme online and directly to ratepayers through its newsletter North Shore City News, which featured a pamphlet on the scheme. It has also displayed posters at high profile community facilities such as libraries and area offices.

The council’s finance team has dedicated staff to assisting ratepayers who are visiting its Takapuna head office at a rate of 200 people a day.

Mr Wood says the rebate scheme aims to ease the rates burden on superannuitants and low income families.

“We have so far processed 2003 applications that seem to be eligible for a rebate, however if the DIA’s rough estimate is correct, this figure may be less than a quarter of those that may be eligible,” he says.

“I’m urging residents to contact us if they believe they may be eligible for a rebate,” he says.

“The income threshold is higher than some people think. Council officers report that the highest income level passed to the DIA for approval is $41,000 p.a. with annual rates of $4,189.”

--

NOTE TO EDITORS
Changes to the Rates Rebate Scheme established by central government should see more people eligible for a rates rebate on their North Shore City Council rates.
The scheme will benefit people who pay rates for the home in which they live and whose incomes are low.
All North Shore City ratepayers should have received a brochure with their July 2006 rates bill. The brochure explains the government scheme, includes a household income table and gives steps to follow if people think they may be eligible for a rebate.
The following information appears on www.northshorecity.govt.nz and explains the rebate scheme, how to apply for a rebate, our rates postponement policy, how to pay your rates and where your rates go.
Rates rebate scheme
Rates Postponement Policy
How to pay your rates
Property valuation – how it affects your rates
About your rates and charges


North Shore City’s Rates Postponement Policy
Our rates postponement policy allows residential ratepayers who are unable to pay their rates because of financial hardship to delay paying rates.
As well as financial circumstances, key criteria are:
The ratepayer must own and live in a residential property and have lived in North Shore City for at least two years.
The ratepayer must not own any other properties or substantial realisable assets.
Interest and charges may be added to the postponed rates.
The rates and charges will need to be repaid at some time. A Statutory Land Charge will be registered to secure the rates and charges.
Considering each application on its merits, our council has granted requests to have the payment of rates postponed and negotiated for the arrears to be paid off either through instalments or in full on a designated future date or from the proceeds of a deceased estate.
For more information, please contact the rates department on 486 8600.

Other agencies that can help you

Supplementary Benefit - Work and Income New Zealand (WINZ) have loans and advances available to low income earners and those on benefits who are having difficulties in meeting their commitments. Application should be made directly to your local WINZ service centre.

Budgetary Assistance - North Shore Budget Service is a voluntary organisation based at the St John Ambulance Centre, 2 Shea Tce, Takapuna, which has specialised staff available to assist with budgetary control and financial advice. You can contact them on 486 6206.

Citizens Advice Bureaux - The Citizens Advice Bureaux have personnel available to assist with budgetary advice. Please contact your local office for assistance.


ENDS

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